Putnam County, Ohio. A white, very religious (mainly Catholic), heterosexual, conservative, beer drinking, deer hunting, redneck loving, 4-wheel mudding piece of farmland stuck in the middle of northwest Ohio. It's not much, but it was home for the first 18 years of my life. By the way, I'm Darcy. Hi!
Growing up in a county full of farms and small towns, I didn't really think I was that different from any other kid at school. I had what was considered a normal family, mom, dad, two brothers and eventually a sister, with me being the oldest. We were raised Catholic in a town of about 1000 people, all of whom were white and some form of conservative Christian. Looking back now on my childhood I can't believe I didn't realize I was gay. I dressed in loose fitting t-shirts with carpenter jeans and sneakers, had pretty short hair and, given the opportunity, I would play with my brothers' G.I. Joes over the Barbies my mom got me any day. But then again, I didn't even know there was such a thing as homosexuality until I was about 15 or 16.
One thing I do remember as a child is on Christmas day when we were all downstairs opening presents I would get so jealous of the cool cars, G.I. Joes, video games and all-around "boy stuff" Santa brought my brothers. And there I was, getting pink things from Santa in a futile effort to "de-tomboy" me. Which I got a lot, especially from my mother.
That's one term I really got used to growing up. Tomboy. It was like a cover up that my mom told everyone to basically explain why I didn't "act" like a girl. But if it helped my mom sleep at night then whatever.
Let's just fast forward through middle school because that was just painfully awkward and go right to high school. Now I've grown my hair out, I'm dressing more girly-ish and I've found an outlet for my angst and internal struggles: sports. I'm still considered a tomboy at this point but then again all the sporty girls are.
So sophomore year of high school I started dating this guy named Mike. We were the "it" couple. We never fought, we were always laughing and having a good time together, liked the same music and movies and all in all were best friends. And that was the problem: all I saw in him was a friend. Although I am a gold star lesbian, we fooled around a few times in our year and a half relationship but it was always so awkward and I just remember thinking it didn't feel right. But it wasn't just because I saw him as a friend, it was boys in general. That was my first red flag. I remember thinking, What the hell is wrong with me? I have the perfect boyfriend, I'm horny but I can't submit to the idea of having sex with a penis. Well shit, I'm just going to be single the rest of my life.
Needless to say, after we broke up junior year I partied a lot. Like A LOT. I had a lot of friends, and in a small town with nothing but cornfields for miles around, what's better to do on a Friday night than get completely shitfaced playing beer pong and throwing corn cobs at things?
Then along came my senior year. Now my best friend in high school, Brooke, always had these friends from other schools that were girls. I don't know how she met them but she would bring them to party all the time. Eventually when I asked her about these "friends" she finally confessed that they were more than friends and that she was actually dating these girls. That was the sweetest thing, to have someone feel so comfortable telling me a deep secret. So I kept her secret and even helped her cover up for it by saying she was at my house when she would be at her girlfriend's. And I just remember after she told me thinking to myself, I did find girls very attractive. Like I wanted to get in their pants. I didn't know how that would work but I didn't care.
Around my 18th birthday I got a wonderful birthday present, mono. But it gets better: a few weeks after that, my parents tell me they're divorcing, my dog of 14 years dies, I lose a classmate, there's domestic violence in my family due to a very close cousin running off to Vegas for a weekend to have gay orgies behind his wife's back, and my two best friends make my life a living hell because they think I'm hooking up with Brooke's girlfriend – even though I've never told them I like girls. But the icing on the cake is when my mom and dad literally corner me in the kitchen, screaming and interrogating me about some texts my mom found on my phone from a girl. I just remember crying because I knew I was gay but I hadn't really accepted it until that moment. And so I told them: You got me. I'm gay.
I hadn't planned on telling my parents until absolutely necessary but I had to, I mean the evidence was right there. We talked for a bit and my mom cried but didn't really say anything, I think she was just having a hard time processing this new information. But the one thing that really got to me, and I mean really broke my heart, was when my dad looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I love you no matter what and I'm proud of you."
Did that really just happen? One thing you need to know about my dad is growing up he was a hard ass. Borderline verbally abusive. His discipline included screaming vulgarities at us kids and using the belt when we were really bad. In those 18 years I had never heard him say such a sincere, loving thing to me. He was not a sensitive guy and never expressed his feelings, never said "I love you." But then again, what do you expect from a retired Marine?
Anyway, for the next two weeks I was put on lockdown, I guess in an attempt to prevent me from being gay? I don't know. I graduated high school in '09 with a whopping 50 people, one of the largest in the history of my school, and basically had to wait out the summer before I was off to college. Believe me, that couldn't come soon enough. Little did I know that that summer I would meet a girl, fall head over heels in love with her and date for two years.
Rach was my first girlfriend, my first real love. I know now that our relationship was more of a "first love" kind of love but it was real nonetheless. We were so comfortable with each other; physically, emotionally, intellectually. I could tell that girl anything and everything, and I did. Even though our relationship was far from perfect, and super rocky, I don't regret any of it. She came to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and any other family occasion she could make it to. I think that's when it started to really hit home with my family that Darcy is gay and that's okay, though currently my mom is upset I cut my hair because I "look like a boy" now. I think she would have preferred a lipstick lesbian daughter. Too damn bad I'm a chapstick. Original flavored.
But I'm still the same me I've always been; if anything I'm more comfortable and confident to be myself than ever before. I enjoy sharing my story with new people and letting them know about the struggles I faced growing up. I'll never be ashamed of who I am. In fact, I shared my story with my cousin Chris one night and he started crying and came out to me too. Then we both cried and laughed because we had both known all along. We came out not only to our families but to everyone in general, and things in our town seemed to become more pleasant, though at first there were lots of rumors going around and we were kind of looked down upon. But eventually people saw that we just didn't care what they thought about us, which was shocking to them because in a small town like that your reputation means everything. Upon visiting my hometown every now and then I've noticed that people seem a little more open minded, and even a few of the older closeted gay people, though still closeted, attend church with their partners.
That's about it for my coming out story, it might not be the most exciting but it's mine. I'm 22 now and have been proudly out for 4 years, and I love it! I couldn't imagine being in the closet like I used to be. It inspires me to live my life to the fullest, and I am going to continue living it the way I have been. Happily. I guess I'm a gay gay!